Welcome back! Spring is here and we are bursting at the seams with fresh, delicious produce. John and Amy have decided to take on a new farmers market to try and move some produce this busy spring season. Check us out at the Winter Garden Farmers Market on Saturdays from now till mid June.
We greet this first week of our spring CSA season with… (drumroll please) freshly picked, deliciously ripe, Strawberries– grown in actual straw rather than conventional black plastic. Ever wonder how they got their name STRAWberries? There are various types of “mulches” farmers can choose from when growing strawberries some are more environmentally friendlier than others (hint hint). Mulching is important because it reduces weed growth, which decreases the amount of time you need to spend weeding. It minimizes water use because it prevents the sun from hitting the soil, which reduces water evaporation. It also improves soil quality as it decomposes. The best mulches for strawberry plants are plastic, straw and pine needles. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/proper-mulch-strawberries-26206.html
Red Leaf Lettuce- This variety of lettuce grows very well in our region as it is fast growing, heat tolerant, and slow to bolt. Bolting is the production of a flowering stem (or stems) on a plant before it can be harvested. It is the plant’s natural attempt to produce seeds so it can reproduce and occurs as the hot weather moves in. The red leaf variety offers a large, open “head” of crimson tipped loose leaves that deepens in color as it matures and makes for a beautiful tossed salad.
Tokyo Turnips- Tokyo Turnips are a mild, juicy variety of turnip. Try them raw in salads, thinly sliced on crudite plates or with crackers and cheese. You can also cook them in soups or stir fry’s-note that they do not need to be cooked for long! Eat the greens, they are slightly spicy, tender, and delicious.
Purple Kohlrabi- This purple alien like vegetable has a similar taste and texture to that of a broccoli stem and is crisp and juicy like an apple, just not as sweet. Kohlrabi is in the same species as the wild cabbage (Brassica Oleracea). To prepare make sure you cut and peel the thick purple skin revealing the pearly white flesh. Kohlrabi can be sliced and eaten raw or cooked. The Kohlrabi leaves are edible too and can be used interchangeably with collards and kale. Check out the recipe below featuring Kohlrabi, Carrots and Turnips from your share. For preparation tips check out this easy to follow picture diagram from Kitchn.com How to Cut Up Kohlrabi
Sweet Baby Carrots- Hand Picked, Hand Washed, Hand Packaged…A bunch of love and thought goes into bundling these sweet and tender baby carrots. No need to waste your time peeling them, simply give them a good wash and enjoy. Make sure to cut the tops off before you store them in the refrigerator as the tops suck all the moisture out of the tuber leaving it limp and unappealing. If this happens simply cut the tops off, submerge in water, and store in the fridge. They will return to their fresh and crispy state in no time at all. This is a great way to store them and easily accessible for the late-night snacker.
Arugula- A fiesty peppery addition to any salad, pizza topping, or for Sunday morning brunch atop some whole grain toast under a poached egg. Yum!
Bok Choy- This thin-stemmed variety has tender leaves and an epic flavor for any stir fry dish.
Sweet Potatoes- These medium sized, garnet skinned, sweet potatoes are so easy to peel. Their bright orange flesh is slightly sweet and is great in savory dishes and mixed mashes. Try mixing these sweet potatoes with some fresh greens from your share for a Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Braised Carrot, Kohlrabi and Turnips
1 kohlrabi, peeled and quartered
1 bunch turnips, washed and topped
4 or 5 carrots, washed and topped
1/2 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 small cloves of garlic, diced
3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of butter or butter substitute
Quickly brown butter and garlic in a large frying pan, add the broth and vegetables, bring to a boil, reduce to medium/low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until tender. Strain out the vegetables and cook the tops of the kohlrabi in the leftover stock. I cut the tops very fine like you would kale, however you don’t have to. Make sure you wash them first to remove any sand or dirt.